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RULES AND ADVICES
DIOCESE OF DOWN AND CONNOR,
BISHOP OF THAT DIOCESE.
RULES AND ADVICES
I. Personal duty. 1. REMEMBER that it is your great duty, and tied on you by many obligations, that you be exemplar in your lives, and be patterns and presidents to your flocks; lest it be said unto you, Why takest thou my law into thy mouth, seeing thou hatest to be reformed thereby? He that lives an idle life may preach with truth and reason, or as did the Pharisees : but not as Christ, or as one having authority.
II. Every minister in taking accounts of his life must judge of his duty by more strict and severer measures, than he does of his people; and he that ties heavy burdens upon others, ought himself to carry the heaviest end : and many things may be lawful in them, which he must not suffer in himself.
III. Let every minister endeavour to be learned in all spiritual wisdom, and skilful in the things of God; for he will ill teach others the way of godliness, perfectly, that is himself a babe and uninstructed. An ignorant minister is an head without an eye; and an evil minister is salt that hath no savour.
IV. Every minister, above all things, must be careful that he be not a servant to passion, whether of anger or desire. For he that is not a master of his passions will always be useless, and quickly will become contemptible and cheap in the eyes of his parish.
V. Let no minister be litigious in any thing; not greedy or covetous; not insisting upon little things, or quarreling for, or exacting of every minute portion of his dues ; but bountiful and easy, remitting of his right, when to do so may be useful to his people, or when the contrary may do mischief, and cause reproach. · Be not over righteous, (saith Solomon,) that is, not severe in demanding, or forcing every thing, though it be indeed his due.
VI. Let not the name of the church be made a pretence for personal covetousness; by saying, you are willing to remit many things, but you must not wrong the church: for though it be true, that you are not to do prejudice to succession, yet many things may be forgiven upon just occasions, from which the church shall receive no incommodity; but be sure that there are but few things which thou art bound to do in thy personal capacity, but the same also, and more, thou art obliged to perform, as thou art a public person.
VII. Never exact the offerings, or customary wages, and such as are allowed by law, in the ministration of the sacraments, nor condition for them, nor secure them beforehand; but first do your office, and minister the sacraments purely, readily, and for Christ's sake; and when that is done, receive what is your due.
VIII. Avoid all pride, as you would flee from the most frightful apparition, or the most cruel enemy; and remember that you can never truly teach humility, or tell what it is, unless you practise it yourselves.
IX. Take no measures of humility, but such as are material and tangible; such which consist not in humble words, and lowly gestures; but what is first truly radicated in your souls, in low opinion of yourselves, and in real preferring others before yourselves; and in such significations, which can neither deceive yourselves nor others.
X. Let every curate of souls strive to understand himself best; and then to understand others. Let him spare himself least; but severely judge, censure, and condemn himself. If he be learned, let him shew it by wise teaching, and humble manners. If he be not learned, let him be sure to get so much knowledge as to know that, and so much humility, as not to grow insolent, and puffed up by his emptiness. For many will pardon a good man that is less learned; but if he be proud, no man will forgive him.
XI. Let every minister be careful to live a life as abstracted from the affairs of the world, as his necessity will permit him; but at no hand to be immerged and principally employed in the affairs of the world: what cannot be avoided, and what is of good report, and what he is obliged to by any personal or collateral duty, that he may do, but no more: ever remembering the saying of our blessed Lord; In the world ye shall have trouble ; but in
fame and repu
me ye shall have peace ; and consider this also, which is a great truth; that every degree of love to the world is so much taken from the love of God. XII. Be no otherwise solicitous of
your tation, but by doing your duty well and wisely; in other things refer yourself to God, but if you meet with evil tongues, be careful that you bear reproaches sweetly and temperately.
XIII. Remember that no minister can govern his people well, and prosperously, unless himself hath learned humbly and cheerfully to obey his superior. For every minister should be like the good centurion in the gospel; himself is under authority, and he hath people under him.
XIV. Be sure in all your words and actions to preserve Christian simplicity and ingenuity; to do to others, as you would be done unto yourself; and never to speak what you do not think. Trust to truth, rather than to your memory; for this
that will never. XV. Pray much and very fervently, for all your parishioners, and all men that belong to you, and all that belong to God; but especially for the conversion of souls; and be very zealous for nothing, but for God's glory, and the salvation of the world, and particularly of your charges : ever remembering that you are by God appointed, as the ministers of prayer and the ministers of good things, to pray for all the world, and to heal all the world, as far as
you are able.
XVI. Every minister must learn and practise patience, that by bearing all adversity meekly, and humbly, and cheerfully, and by doing all his duty with unwearied industry, and with great courage, constancy, and Christian magnanimity, he may the better assist his people in the bearing of their crosses, and overcoming of their difficulties.
XVII. He that is holy, let him be holy still, and still more holy, and never think he hath done his work, till all be finished by perseverance, and the measures of perfection in a holy life, and a holy death; but at no hand must he magnify himself by vain separations from others, or despising them that are not so holy.
II. Of prudence required in ministers. XVIII. Remember that discretion is the mistress of all graces; and humility is the greatest of all miracles : and without this, all graces perish to a man's self; and without that, all graces are useless unto others.